The Ketogenic diet has been sweeping the country for some time now and that awareness has been fueled in part by the documentary, “The Magic Pill”, which follows people in Australia and America to explore what effects the ketogenic diet has on their symptoms. All the world’s ills – from autism to cancer – are blamed on the modern diet while the Ketogenic Diet becomes the cure.
WWhat is the ketogenic diet?
If you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere and haven’t heard of the diet, it’s basically a low-carb, high-fat diet that encourages your body to use fat for fuel instead of carbs. It’s much more complicated than this and is almost a disciplined science with times for eating specific foods; respite periods from the diet; and the use of urine strips, breath meters, and blood meters. It’s a lifestyle.
In addition, there are four different forms of the ketogenic diet: the Standard ketogenic diet (SKD), the Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD), the Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD), and the High-protein ketogenic diet. Only the first one has been studied extensively. So, there’s little wonder the medical community have voiced their concerns about long-term use of the diet.
Recently, Dr. Kim Williams, the past President of the American College of Cardiology, made the following alarming comments about the diet:
“There’s only one slight problem: and that’s cardiovascular events,” he said. “If you look at mortality – I remember pulling out the slide from 2007, that’s the first one I saw, large randomized trial, looking at the ketogenic diet and showing that it increased mortality by about 22 percent.
So, I was talking about that and making sure everyone was hearing about that, and then there was [a study] in the Journal of the American Heart Association published a few years later that isolated the people who had had a heart attack in the past, the cardiology population that we’re seeing, and they were doing a ketogenic diet. It was a 53 percent increase in mortality. No one should be doing this.
Don’t limit yourself to these two trials – take every trial that’s ever been published across the world, do a meta-analysis, I think they had 13 or 16 trials in it, and average them all out… and the answer was a 31 percent increase in mortality. So, it’s not something people should do unless your weight loss is more important than your life.”
The Science is Wrong
“Unfortunately, the science of it is wrong,” he said. “If all you wanted was short-term weight loss – and short-term could be a year or two – if that’s all you’re looking for, great.”
He noted that there are other markers that the kite can improve short-term, but questioned whether any of them are independent from weight loss. For instance, when you lose weight, your blood pressure improves and so does your blood sugar; but, attributing the diet itself to those health gains is a bit premature and probably even in error.
Still, knowing this, it’s difficult to pass up those slabs of bacon and chunks of cheese the ketogenic diet allows. But I won’t miss those urine strips, ketone breath meters, or blood meters.
1. ‘No One Should Be Doing Keto Diet’ Says Leading Cardiologist. Maria Chiroando,Plant Based News.
2. Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Hiroshi Noto, Atsushi Goto, Tetsuro Tsujimoto,and Mitsuhiko Noda; Plos One, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 2013.